I figure I should take care of the easiest things first. I offer meat to the doggos. There’s three dogs at this stable, and when I drop meat two are close enough to chow down. One leads me to a ruby, the other to a weaker weapon than I already have. Out that way, I find a korok who needs to go meet his friend, and while carrying him there I find another korok. When I go back to feed the third dog, the two dogs I already fed are back, and I can’t tell for sure who I fed and who I didn’t. And I don’t have a lot of meat to waste, so I just skip the third doggo for now. I am not sure that works, but maybe if I leave and return all three will replenish after a blood moon, so I can keep coming back. Or maybe not.
I figure next thing I should do is look into the disappeared Hylian Underpants Brigade guys who went looking for monsters at Princess Zelda’s request, and never returned. I go up the road intending to look for them. But I don’t run into them, or monsters, and instead end up on the road to Death Mountain and the Gorons. It’s a long hike, and along the way I do some mountain climbing, some hunting, and some foraging. I pick up some lizards, butterflies, mushrooms, raw meat, and monster parts. At one point I end up climbing a mountainside and end up right in the middle of a bokoblin-moblin hideout. For once I decide to stand my ground and fight them, and it doesn’t go too bad. I don’t get surrounded or ganged up on, and make decent use of my arrows and materials to make the fight a little easier, blowing up the monsters’ own explosives to take out the first Moblin, and then dealing with the two blue Bokoblins swiftly with arrows and finish them off with my melee weapon. There’s another moblin and a final bokoblin down on the ground, and I kill them before they even know I’m there.
I get some arrows, some monster parts, and then I encounter octorocks, and I know the trick with these guys is to let them inhale a degraded weapon, and they’ll spit it out in better condition. Since just about everything in Hyrule was decayed by the Gloom during the Upheaval, this seems like a much more important thing to do in TOTK than in BOTW, so I feed the octorocks as many weapons as I can, and get cleaned-up versions of them back which increases their damage rating, and hopefully also their durability.
A little further down the road, and I discover a Goron restaurant, where I talk to some Gorons. There are some Hylians here too. The Gorons are eating this new meal called Marbled Rock Roast which seems to be very popular. The Gorons are obsessed with the stuff. It’s like an 80’s War on Drugs allegory. All they want to do is eat the Marbled Rock Roast and nothing else. Some Gorons have even turned to ripping people off, demanding the meal in lieu of any other form of payment, and then withholding their goods or services and demanding more of the food. Others have stopped working and only eat the rock all day. The elders and the young Gorons seem to be unaffected, but this is explained because their teeth are not strong enough to eat this type of rock.
Curious. I’m warned against going to Goron City right now, but I ignore that and continue up the road. Along the way I find some mine carts and tracks, and I play with these a bit just to see if they take me to anything good, which one takes me to a cave, but it is too hot in there for me to go without catching fire, so I turn around and continue heading up the mountain toward Goron City.
Before long, I’m there. And it’s much the same as down below at the restaurant. Gorons are all obsessed with Marbled Rock Roast. The young are concerned and frightened, and the elders are frustrated. Yunobo seems to have started a company, called YunoboCo, a mining outfit that hires Hylians as well as Gorons, but all they do now is mine the Marbled Rock and eat it. Nothing else is getting done.
There’s a Shrine here in the city, so I go there and solve some easy obstacle course involving rivers of lava. In the center of town, I talk to an elder and a child Goron, and then Yunobo himself comes up. He remembers me and is not exactly hostile, but isn’t exactly friendly, either. He is wearing a strange mask, or helmet, and mentions that Princess Zelda herself has directed him to mine the Marbled Rock Roast, and that he doesn’t have time to help me with anything else, and suggests that I leave the city. Then he goes back to where he came from.
I continue exploring and just outside the city, further up the mountain, I find some more mining carts and tracks. There’s a young Goron here who tells me he wants to find Goronia, the ancient Goron city. To do this he needs to take the mine cart, but the cart isn’t working. I use ultrahand to put a fan on the cart, and talk to the kid again, and he hops in and we go to down the tracks together. At then end of the line, I find YunoboCo HQ, where I find a shop selling the flamebreaker armor suit. It’s 700 rupees, and only have a little more than 200, so I sell a diamond in order to buy it right away. I don’t want to waste time and material creating elixirs that will only give me temporary heat resistance, only to run out of them and be stuck somewhere lethal and my quest half-finished.
Nearby, there’s a cave, guarded by two of the Goron children who I spoke to in the town. They’re working for Yunobo, but they’re concerned about this Marbled Rock Roast business, and don’t think that Yunobo is acting like himself. They ask me to help them, and of course I tell them sure I’ll try. They tell me that Yunobo is in this cavern with Zelda, and the temperature there is too hot to enter without protection. I put on the armor suit and they allow me to pass.
Inside, I see Yunobo and Zelda talking. The kids speak up first, and tell Yunobo to knock it off with the Marbled Rock Roast and take his mask off. This enrages Yunobo, who attacks me. He has a charging attack where he rolls at me, which is pretty easy to dodge. After he hits a wall, he’s knocked dizzy for a bit, which enables me to hit him. Each time I hit him, his mask cracks a bit — the game seems to be breaking out of the normal combat engine to show a scripted event to establish that this is what’s happening. After three hits, the mask is broken, and Yunobo comes to his senses. He wakes up as though coming out of a trance, and says he wants to talk to Zelda to understand what’s happened, only she’s no longer in the cave. We see her briefly just outside the entrance, and then there’s a landslide, which seals us in the cave.
No one is hurt, and Yunobo’s charge ability enables him to dig us out. He asks me to guide him, and this is how I pick up a new ability. Another special ability like Tulin’s gust of wind, Yunobo’s charge attack is a little like bowling. After breaking out of the cave, Zelda is nowhere to be seen. Yunobo thinks that she might be found at the top of Death Mountain, which is where he first saw her after the Upheaval. So we head that way.
Yunobo suggests riding in the mine carts, so I grab one and put it on the rails, and hop in. He turns into a ball, and it seems like I can shoot him from the car and he’ll come back. In this way I can use him to hit things along the tracks, and it seems there are rail switches that I need to hit with him in order to go the right way.
We end up getting to the end of a line, and I discover a cavern in the ground just at the end of the line. I jump down into it, and find a mine car line that takes us through a complex. We have to team up to trigger switches in order to continue through the cavern. Eventually we make it to a central cavern with a large circular track running along it, which if I hit switches at the right times, I can bet closer to an island of rock in the center. This central rock is guarded by a pair of tough Moblins, who are aided by fire keese and octorocks. It’s a tough fight, but I am able to summon Tulin who helps out with his bow, taking the octorocks out of the fight early, and then I hit the moblins with a sapphire powered sword freezing them, and this allows me to finish the fight.
There’s a treasure chest here, and looking around I can see that if I take the card line a different way, there’s a switch to a track that leads to a cave where I see a shrine. We get back in the art and start rolling back, these tracks are confusing and tricky, but they’re not difficult to stay on, and I don’t fall off or anything, and if I miss a switch the line just loops around again and lets me have another try at it. So it’s not too frustrating, and kind of easy once I get the hang of aiming Yunobo. I make a few laps and notice a side-cave with a bubbul frog in it, so I hit him with Yunobo, and collect the gem for it. Then I get into the shrine area. There’s a lot of brightbulb seeds, a few lizards, and a lot of ore deposits, and then shrine itself is a Rauru’s Blessing, no challenge, just walk in and get a blessing.
So that’s pretty nice. But we didn’t find Zelda, and I’m not sure where we’re supposed to go now. Do I try to Ascend? There doesn’t seem to be any other way out, so I try that. On the surface now, somehow Yunobo follows me, and we’re back above ground. I’m not sure what to do, I guess once I get re-oriented, I’ll try to figure out how to make my way up to the top of Death Mountain and see if we can find Zelda. I’m convinced it must be another imposter, and I want to find out what she’s up to and put a stop to it.